Present Perfect: Statements

We use the Present Perfect to talk about actions or events in the past that still have an effect on the present moment. The focus is on the result.

Some more examples:

  • The taxi has arrived (and it is here).
  • I have broken that cup (it is broken now).
  • Where is Ann? She’s gone to the mall (she is still there).

How to form Present Perfect

To make the Present Perfect, we use:

have / has + the Past Participle form of the verb

I have visited
You have visited
He/she/it has visited
We have visited
You have visited
They have visited
Note: In everyday speech and informal writing we usually use the short form of ‘have’/’has‘.

 I have no cash, I’ve spent it on DVDs.
My team’s just won and I’m very happy.

The Past Participle forms of regular verbs end in ‘-ed‘:

  • work  → I’ve worked
  • play → he’s played
  • finish → they’ve finished

But many common verbs have irregular past participle forms, like in the examples below:

do → done
eat → eaten
read → read
see → seen
make → made
find → found
speak → spoken
come → come

When to use Present Perfect

The Present Perfect tense is used to express actions that started in the past but continue to the present. The time of the action or event is not specific.

  • She has passed the test.
  • They have been to India.

Actions started in the past but stopped recently

We often use the Present Perfect to talk about a recent event or action. Use the adverbs ‘just‘ and ‘already‘ to emphasize that the event or action is recent and happened before now:

  • The train from New-Delhi has just arrived.
  • I’ve just finished watching the game.
  • They’ve already finished their trip.

Present Perfect is often used with the words like ‘just‘, ‘already‘, recently‘, lately‘, ‘still‘, ‘this week/month/year‘, today’, etc. to denote a recent activity or event.

Actions that started in the past but continue to the present

We also use the Present Perfect when we think about the past and present together. We use it for past actions or events that are linked to the present (started in the past and are still happening now):

  • I’ve lived in this house for 20 years (I started to live in this house 20 years ago and still live here now).
  • Jack’s lost his hat (he lost his hat recently and still can’t find it now).
  • She’s been a famous singer since 2010 (and she still is).

In statements showing an event or situation which began in the past and continues now, we often use time expressions with since and for, e.g. for a week, since yesterday, for a long time, since 2010:

  • I love my new office, I’ve worked there for five months already.
  • Today we celebrate our anniversary, we’ve been married since 2007.

Lasting actions that occurred in the past but have an effect on the present

We also use the Present Perfect to talk about actions repeated in an unspecified period between the past and now. These actions occurred before the present and occurred over a period of time rather than a single moment in time:

  • We have built a fence.
  • They have been to Belgium.

Let’s summarize the usages of Present Perfect:

Here’s a good video from GoEnglish explaining how to use Present Perfect correctly:

Read more about Present Perfect:

Present Perfect Tense for Experience

Present Perfect Tense with ‘Just’ and ‘Yet’

Present Perfect for Unfinished Past

Present Perfect: Negative & Questions

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